Collector - July 2020 - 35

Instructor
Insights
W

e talk a lot about how to
optimize your collection
floor, but what about your IT
department? Jim Warner, chief
technology and security officer,
State Collection Service Inc., copresented a dynamic session on
this topic at ACA International's
2020 Spring Forum and Expo.
We talked with him about why
companies should incorporate
IT into their strategic plans, and
he offered some tips for fearful
presenters.

Why did you want to give a
presentation on IT infrastructure?
I've been guiding State for more than a
decade toward an ever-improving secure,
scalable and available infrastructure. I
wanted to share my experiences because I
think it's important to foster the value of
IT and hopefully make a small difference at
another agency. If a colleague took only one
thing back home, I was successful.

What did you learn in preparing for
your presentation?

ACA Achievements:

Fellow, Scholar, Professional
Collection Specialist
and Trainer Specialist
Program designations; ACA
International Member of the
Year, Charles F. Lindemann
Certified Instructor of
the Year, Fred Kirschner
Instructor Achievement,
International Fellowship
of Certified Collection
Executives and Kurt
Swersky awards

COLLECTOR 07.20

Public speaking is not my strength. But it
was a tad easier, and I think more effective,
to co-present with Dan Medina, director
of operations, Gulf Coast Collection
Bureau Inc. It allowed me to stay focused
on sharing my experiences. It also let me
provide conversational guidance of the
topic to motivate the audience to embrace
challenge, be a part of the solution and
take action.

Did you and Dan come up with the
idea for the presentation together?
Yes, when I was approached to present
at ACA's Spring Forum, I asked that I
co-present instead with someone on
the topic rather than present by myself.
I feel the speak-and-comment style
provides a broader viewpoint with more
interaction. Both presenters are on
stage at the same time. One presents on
the topic and the other adds to it. We
each brainstormed a dozen or so topics,
narrowed them down and then picked

those we were more passionate about
sharing guidance and experiences.

What are some of the challenges
when it comes to incorporating IT
into a larger corporate strategy?
Participation by everyone and closing the
loop is important. We share our corporate
strategic plan and provide high-level updates
at every monthly information meeting. Last
year we developed an agency scorecard that
measures KPIs from all areas of the business.
It includes profit margin, fee per head, client
satisfaction, legal actions, employee retention
and system downtime, to name a few. We
also have an annual offsite innovation
summit with our leadership team. As you
can imagine, quite a few (if not all) items will
require strong IT participation.

Do you have any tips for other
ACA members who have never
presented at an industry event
before?
Jerry Seinfeld joked: "According to most
studies, people's number one fear is public
speaking. Number two is death. Death is
number two. Does that sound right? This
means to the average person, if you go to a
funeral, you're better off in the casket than
delivering the eulogy."
Be open to the idea, even if you're like
me and many who are fearful of presenting.
We're in this together and want to help or
learn from each other.
Reported by Anne Rosso May.

35



Collector - July 2020

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